Murray Cameron, seen here playing in Fort Langley during the Oct. 12th Cranberry Festival, has been busking for 20 years. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Meet a 71-year-old street musician

A retired Langley music teacher has been busking for 20 years. It’s not really about the money.

When Murray Cameron began playing his guitar, a woman walking by stopped and did a double-take.

“I know this song,” she said, amazed.

“It’s a Chinese song.

Then Cameron started singing, in Mandarin, and the delighted woman began to sing with him.

He was busking on a Fort Langley sidewalk at the time, and as he continued to play and sing, more and more people, all apparently Mandarin speakers, emerged from the crowd to watch.

Later, he would explain he was playing a very popular tune, which roughly translated, has a title of “the moon represents my heart.”

He learned it from some of his Mandarin-speaking students, who have been teaching him their language while he works as a volunteer English tutor at the Langley Church of Latter-Day Saints.

“I have a goal to speak Mandarin,” he told the Langley Advance Times.

He said his musical background helps him learn the language because the meaning of words in Mandarin are very dependant on their tone for meaning.

“Being a musician, I understand tones.”

Cameron, a 71-year-old retired music teacher, estimates he’s been busking for about 20 years now.

He started before he retired, less for the money, which he usually donates to local food banks, than for the opportunity to perform.

“It’s meeting people and talking to people [that’s the appeal],” Cameron said.

He wants to see others doing the same.

“I would like to see more street performers in Langley, because people like it.”

Usually, he plays the violin, even though he feels he is better on the guitar, because audiences seem to enjoy it more.

“I think it’s maybe because they know it’s [the violin] a difficult instrument [to play],” he guessed.

He can also play classical and acoustic guitar, but not when he’s on the street.

Cameron always asks permission from a business before he begins playing out front.

He’s only been refused once in 20 years, by a business he won’t identify, except to say “it wasn’t in Langley. “

“They told they would have to give permission to other people [to play] if they did,” he said.

“They were as polite as you could be when you tell someone they’re not wanted,” he laughed.

His favourite busking songs to perform are from the Eagles, including Lying Eyes, Hotel California and Desperado, as well as a variety of old-time country tunes.

He plays the German standard Edelweiss as an instrumental, even though he speaks some German, a language he picked up when he went over to play for a hockey club in the European country many years ago, a gig that he said lasted “about six weeks.”

Hockey and music were two passions growing up for Cameron, who taught the sport a while but eventually chose music.

He’s combined the two by writing and recording several hockey-oriented songs, that he has posted online as “Bobby Orbison.”

“If you do a search on YouTube, you’ll probably find them,” he said.

READ ALSO: Ranging in age from 69 to 99 years old, The Merry Music Makers pursue their passion for song

READ ALSO: Langley seniors gather at seventh annual lifestyle expo



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Murray Cameron attracted attention when the 71-year-old busker sang a song in Mandarin during the Oct. 12th Cranberry Festival. He’s been busking for 20 years. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Just Posted

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse, off duty cop testifies in Langley murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Langley resident Shaun Nugent, who died in 2019 shortly after he saved a swimmer from drowning, has been awarded a posthumous medal for bravery by the Royal Canadian Humane Association (Courtesy Nugent family)
Langley man who died after saving swimmer receives posthumous medal for bravery

Shaun Nugent rescued woman from Hayward Lake near Mission in July of 2019

The RCMP photo shows cannabis that was seized as part of the E-Prominent investigation. (RCMP)
Four Langley and Surrey men charged in 2019 pot export case

Warrants were executed on properties in Surrey, Langley and Delta in June and August 2019

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read